In its evolution from product-centric to customer-centric operations, Mediq, a key player in the medical supply sector, extends its influence across more than 15 countries. Renowned for providing pharmaceuticals and vital medical resources, Mediq operates through an extensive network of proprietary pharmacies, direct patient services, and strategic collaborations with franchises.
A case study conducted by Pegamento in partnership with Polly.Help.
Navigating a dynamic industry landscape, Mediq embarked on a profound transformation, pivoting its core focus from products to customers. Central to this transformation was the imperative to facilitate frictionless information dissemination, a cornerstone for operational efficiency. Recognizing the pivotal role of knowledge sharing, Mediq sought a robust knowledge management system to elevate its operations.
Mediq’s journey commenced with the implementation of the Polly.Help knowledge management system. This innovative platform was meticulously designed to centralize information, dismantle information silos, and empower employees with swift and accurate access to knowledge. Careful attention was dedicated to the platform’s interface, ensuring usability and speed for seamless information access.
Unveiling Knowledge Challenges and System Selection
Hein Terwindt, Mediq’s Knowledge Manager, shed light on the inefficiencies of their previous system, which relied on email exchanges for inquiries, often leading to information bottlenecks. Hilde van Gestel, Lead for Customer Experience & Quality, emphasized ad hoc information sharing practices and the use of manual notes. The transformative process began with identifying frequently asked questions, followed by a comprehensive review and validation of existing knowledge. This effort unveiled outdated information and discrepancies, emphasizing the need for a holistic knowledge management platform.
The implementation yielded tangible enhancements. A remarkable 35% surge in first-contact resolution underscored the significant improvement, while a substantial 30% reduction in content authoring time translated to valuable time savings per article. With over 1,500 knowledge items now available, weekly consultations demonstrated steady growth, stabilizing around 5,000 per week. These achievements were driven by meticulous processes, including rigorous review, feedback integration, and seamless incorporation of new information.
Elevated Satisfaction for Customers and Employees
The impact resonates with both customers and employees, as evidenced by consistently high satisfaction ratings averaging 8.3 out of 10. Employees now access a dependable knowledge repository, reducing reliance on immediate assistance and augmenting employee satisfaction. Furthermore, the platform contributed to accelerated training and improved call quality for customer contact agents, ultimately enhancing customer interactions and call durations.
35% improvement in first-contact-resolution
30% reduction in content authoring time
Mediq, formerly known as OPG until 2014, is in the midst of a significant transformation. After being acquired by Advent, a private equity firm, the company shifted its focus from pharmaceutical wholesale with over 200 pharmacies to becoming a provider of medical devices and healthcare solutions. This shift involved transitioning from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach and modernizing their customer service into an efficient customer service organization.
Polly.Help engages in a conversation with Hein Terwindt, Knowledge Manager, and Hilde van Gestel, Lead for Customer Experience & Quality, to provide insights into Mediq’s operations and the pivotal role played by knowledge within the organization. She further delves into the necessity for effective knowledge management, the meticulous implementation process, and the substantial benefits derived from it.
Upon joining Mediq as a Knowledge Manager a year and a half ago, Hein Terwindt immediately noticed a knowledge management issue. Employees were sending emails to product managers for specific inquiries, and product managers, wanting to share information with customer service, were emailing team leaders. However, using Outlook as a makeshift knowledge repository was neither efficient nor effective. This approach led to overflowing inboxes for product managers and critical information being informally shared in an ad-hoc manner during the workday or jotted down on lists and sticky notes. Even though a wealth of information was available, it was fragmented and lacked easy accessibility.
To address this, Mediq began by identifying the most frequently asked questions and then embarked on the task of rewriting and validating the available knowledge. Due to the absence of comprehensive management information, employees were actively involved in providing input, and call reasons were meticulously documented. Information was collected for each query, not only about products but also about process details. During this process, Terwindt and Van Gestel frequently encountered outdated information and discrepancies in descriptions of identical processes, highlighting the issue of knowledge decay.
The next step was to choose a system to systematically store this information. Drawing from their experiences at previous employers, Terwindt and Van Gestel had clear criteria for evaluating a suitable knowledge management system. They required a system with robust editorial capabilities, an intuitive and swift search function, and minimal complexity. Furthermore, the selected system needed to support every aspect of knowledge management, including automated reminders for periodic reviews, a straightforward review process, and version control.
Before shortlisting potential systems, Van Gestel and Terwindt visited several organizations to exchange knowledge and experiences. Various departments, including procurement and IT, compiled an exhaustive list of requirements. They also thoroughly considered how to evaluate and weigh the features of available solutions. During this process, they engaged in discussions about the offerings and requested two suppliers to provide a trial version for a proof of concept. Basic questions were integrated into the applications, and employees tested the systems using real-world scenarios. This phase was pivotal in assessing the level of commitment exhibited by the suppliers.
Terwindt and Van Gestel emphasized that the suitability of a knowledge management system for an organization is influenced by various factors. A rapid response time to search queries is of paramount importance, as delayed responses can compel employees to seek assistance from their colleagues. They sought a solution that was streamlined and avoided unnecessary complexity. They shared an instance where one of the solutions had a print button in the user interface, which raised concerns about the potential loss of control over printed information. Furthermore, they sought a supplier willing to continually enhance the knowledge management system based on feedback, underscoring the significance of fostering a productive working relationship with the chosen partner. Other factors included assessing solvency, pricing, and long-term viability.
However, the success of knowledge management hinges not only on selecting a suitable solution but also on the organization’s acknowledgment of the value of knowledge sharing and its translation into relevant behaviors. Organizations that have historically been product-focused need to recognize that service is an integral component of their products. Initially, product managers were reluctant to contribute to the knowledge base, as their traditional role as a source of information primarily involved sharing information via email.
As a Knowledge Manager, Terwindt’s role involved persuading and motivating individuals to embrace the new system. He also established agreements with teams, such as team leaders incorporating knowledge management into their daily meetings. He offered support whenever required and introduced a bi-weekly newsletter to keep employees informed about new information they would miss out on if they didn’t use the system. As the system is still being populated with knowledge, they haven’t entirely phased out other information sources at workstations yet. However, a clean desk policy is on the horizon, and they plan to introduce this transition in an engaging manner.
While Mediq does not possess specific ROI figures for the knowledge digitization process, they have already observed several benefits. Specialists who previously provided information via email have more available time. Customer contact employees can commence work more rapidly after training, and the initial results indicate an enhancement in conversation quality. The shift to on-the-fly information retrieval has positively impacted call duration. Both customers and employees have expressed satisfaction, with average scores of 8.3 out of 10. Employees no longer need to wait for a subject matter expert to be available on-site, and they perceive the system as a valuable tool that contributes to their job satisfaction.